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Ripple Swell 2018: Brad Garlinghouse talks xRapid, globalization and ‘Internet of Value’

Akash Anand

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Ripple Swell 2018: Brad Garlinghouse talks xRapid, globalization and 'Internet of Value'
Source: Unsplash

Ripple’s two days Swell Conference 2018 commenced on Monday with panel discussions and interactions with luminaries such as former American President Bill Clinton, Gene Sperling, the National Economic President to Clinton and Obama, and the officials from Ripple itself, including CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

The CEO touched upon how the company was built on Chris Larsen’s vision and claimed that the main fulcrum of the organization was integrating the Internet of Value with the workings of the financial ecosystem. He stated:

“The internet of value is something that a lot of people don’t understand and that is Ripple’s biggest bet. One of our main goals has always been to become builders rather than the ‘disruptors’ that is talked about a lot in Silicon Valley. Being coined a disruptor is somewhat of a catnip to investors but in Ripple’s opinion we don’t always need disruption in the industry.”

Garlinghouse stated that Ripple was not trying to replace banks but was trying to build a system that has never been seen before. According to him, the products launched by the company would not only allow the faster and seamless developments of the blockchain industry but also the entire working ecosystem as well.

The Ripple official focused his discussion on the ‘three-legged piece’ that is required for globalization: data which is basically the internet, goods that need to be carried on the channel and money. According to him, the main problem that persists in the industry right now is the movement of the third factor, money. He bought in the analogy of the shipping industry which was revolutionized with the advent of containers and stated that Ripple was trying to bring about a similar revolution in moving money with its products.

He further added that there was a lot of hype in the blockchain space, a sector where the key aspect has to be enabling value to move like information and removing friction from global payments. He added that solving these cumbersome problems will increase the monetary flow of the economy, thereby opening up a lot of avenues to the general populous. Addressing the problems in the fiat sector, he elucidated on the details that hinder the transfer of value across different areas. He said:

“I have been in discussion with officials from a lot of major players and the stats that we obtained are stunning. We have found out that value transfer is staggeringly slow with an air rate of close to 6% that sometimes rises to 11%. The transactions are also really expensive with sources quoting an astronomical $10 trillion trapped in the banking sector.”

Brad Garlinghouse also announced the commercial availability of the much awaited xRapid, Ripple’s latest product that uses digital assets for cross-border transactions. It was even revealed that Ripple has partnered xRapid with three firms namely, Cuallix, Mercury fx, and Catalyst.

Ripple

Ripple’s David Schwartz: Distributed ledger is important as everyone on it enforces the rules

Akash Anand

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Ripple's David Schwartz: The distributed ledger is important as everyone on it enforces the rules
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The cryptocurrency market has been buckling under the weight of the bear for some time now which has forced a lot of popular individuals to speak about the crash as well as assure users to HODL. In a recent talk with the Internet History Podcast, David Schwartz, the Chief Technology Officer of Ripple spoke about the early days of cryptocurrencies as well as the formation of Ripple and XRP.

Schwartz, who has been called ‘Ripple’s trillion dollar man’ spoke about his initial stint with cryptography and what directed him onto the path of digital assets. He stated that he had worked on problems plaguing the internet with the key focus being on security and crowd storage.

According to him, the pressing issue was keeping data in a cloud and also keeping them secure, a concept unheard of at that time. In his words:

“Multiplying the value of information was key. We all had technology focused on transferring data but nothing related to value as such.”

Schwartz added that Ripple and XRP’s entry into the market all began when public encryption was made available to the masses. He stated that in the early days everyone was just using symmetric encryption that was not suitable for commerce. With the advent of public encryption, people in technology realized that money was the only commodity that was left to be transferred quickly and safely.

The Ripple official also spoke about early technologies that paved the way for Bitcoin to catch the public’s eye. He spoke about how concepts like RipplePay and Hash Cash laid the foundation for Ripple and Bitcoin to build upon. The CTO stated that post the arrival of Satoshi Nakamoto, users were given an ecosystem that does not require a trusted third party. According to him:

“ Unlike traditional systems, the absence of a trusted party makes it easier and more secure for data to move around. The system was built on the idea that everybody in the ecosystem enforces the rules and it’s not just one governing body.”

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Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s divisibility and transportability make it much more flexible than digital gold

Priya

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Bitcoin's divisibility and transportability make it much more flexible than digital gold
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Andreas Antonopoulos, the author of Mastering Bitcoin and a Bitcoin proponent, spoke about Bitcoin as a digital currency and whether it would be limited to being just that, in his latest Q&A session on Youtube.

The author was asked about the possibility of Bitcoin becoming the world’s reserve currency, a digital gold and whether other cryptocurrencies would be used as a day-to-day currency. To which, he said:

“I don’t know. I think it would surprise me, actually, if Bitcoin could only fit into the niche of ‘digital gold.’ Bitcoin has characteristics of divisibility and transportability that make it… much more flexible than digital gold.”

Antonopoulos stated that gold is not a good medium of exchanges, because of the difficulty related to verifying whether it is real. He also stated that the store of value is “heavy to carry”, adding that the more one tries to make it fungible and divides it into smaller pieces, the harder it gets to verify its authenticity. According to him, verifying gold in larger amounts, which are stamped by reputable third parties, is easier.

“Then the cost of storing and securing gold is so high that it is better done in a custodial manner, where you put it in a vault and have professionals guarding it. You [are left] with a little paper certificate [of ownership], which have other problems like hypothecation. [All of this] makes it difficult to use [gold] directly as a medium of exchange.”

This was followed by the author remarking that these problems are not prevalent in Bitcoin, even though there is “greater complexity” when it comes to securing the cryptocurrency. He went on to say that this would cause some pressure towards third-party custodians, however, if that pressure is going to be lesser in comparison to the current system, it would still be a “more decentralized future”.

“The ability to transport bitcoin very quickly, in very small amounts [or very large amounts], [including] with second-layer networks that are even faster [and smaller] at the level of microtransactions”

Moreover, the Bitcoin proponent thinks that Bitcoin could be a “very effective” medium of exchange and store of value, adding that the volatility would decrease through use and volume, wherein the currency would not be witnessing a major price fluctuation making it “less speculative in nature”.

“That doesn’t mean there won’t be other coins which [are used] for everyday currency. I think there will be [others]. I don’t think Bitcoin will be just digital gold. It may become a world reserve currency, but I think the concept of a unitary world reserve currency [would] no longer be relevant.”

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